Federal Judge Questions the Use of Racial Profiling in Drug Case

Judge Ruben Castillo ordered the government to turn over the names and races of all the defendants in Chicago drug cases since 2006.

Posted: 08/01/2013 06:40 PM EDT

The chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Ruben Castillo, scrutinized the federal government’s use of racial profiling in a recent drug case.

In a written decision, Castillo cited that since 2011, 19 African-Americans and seven Latinos have been charged through drug setups in the Chicago area, in which agents were used as informants to trap suspects into robbing a fake stash house. Over the same period, no whites have been charged, he wrote, according to the Associated Press.

Castillo has ordered the government to turn over the names and races of all the defendants in drug-sting cases brought by federal prosecutors in Chicago since 2006. There's a "strong showing of potential bias," he reportedly said.

In the case, five men were arrested while preparing to storm a Mexican cartel cocaine stash house after an undercover agent had tipped them off. 

Castillo gave the government until Aug. 23 to turn over data. "It is groundbreaking if, in the end, the court recognizes that these prosecutions are tinged with a racial animus," defense attorney Michael Falconer reportedly said. "With this ruling, Castillo has already gone further than I could have hoped for."

If Castillo finds that racial profiling was involved in the arrests, he could dismiss all charges against the five defendants, Falconer said according to the Associated Press.

This case won’t be the first time that Castillo, the former civil rights attorney, has raised questions about racial bias in the law.

In 2000, Castillo called racial profiling a "deadly cancer on our justice system."

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(Photo: AP Photo/Scott Eisen, File)

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